Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy says he wants to keep the best players in the game because it's what the fans come to see, and he has a plan for doing it.
During a discussion about possible rules changes at the Southeastern Conference spring meetings this week, Kennedy proposed unlimited fouls for players but with a catch. Instead of fouling out with the fifth foul in a game, players could remain in the game but each subsequent foul by that player would give the other team two free throws and possession.
It's an interesting idea that is worthy of discussion, but would likely need a few tweaks and more clarification on its application. For instance, what if a player who has already committed five fouls commits a technical foul. Would he still be allowed to remain in the game or would that be one way in which a player could foul out?
“We’re the only sport where the best players can be eliminated from the game,” Kennedy said in report by Insideolemisssports.com. “Let’s just make it where it really has some teeth. If you foul, the other team’s going to get two shots and the ball. You talk about really having to think now as a coach! It still allows the best players to be in the game so that the fans can see what they came to see.”
Sure, it would change the way coaches approach some situations simply because they would have more options available. It would also change how aggressive players are and the way officials call games.
We've all seen situations late in games when officials seem to swallow the whistle when a star player in foul trouble appears to commit a foul that would lead to him fouling out. With Kennedy's change in place, players might be more aggressive in such situations even if it meant free throws and possession to the opponent.
How much might this muddy the game. We saw at the beginning of last season numerous games with absurd foul a free throw totals as teams around the country tried to adapt to new rules against limiting hand-checking and arm bars by defenders. If players could foul at will, it could slow down games and stifle offense.
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